The historic and legendary First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry was the first black unit to fight in the Civil War. They fought in the Battle of Butler (also known as the Battle of Island Mound or the Battle of Fort Toothman), along the old Fort Scott Road on the Toothman Farm, a scant eight miles southwest of Butler, Missouri.
A group of runaway slaves and freedmen had been organized by Kansas U.S. Senator James Lane in August 1862, with the intent to counter the depredations of William Quantrill and other “border ruffians” who waged a relentless guerrilla war on the Missouri-Kansas border from 1855 through 1862.
During the Civil War these individuals comprised the first all black unit to be recruited and enlisted. They were also the first all black unit to see combat and to fight alongside white troops. This unit ranked first among all of the regiments from Kansas in losses from casualties.
The life-size statue "Battle of Island Mound" was created by Sculptor Joel Randall.